Vale Windows NT4, you were the best

4 August 2003

My days of working with the Window’s operating system NT4 are all but over. It seems ironic that this outcome was brought about while I was trying to install some updated security patches for NT4, from the Microsoft website.

After the updates had been installed, I was unable to dial back onto the net. When I investigated, I discovered that all the dial-up networking protocols had somehow corrupted, presumably during the installation of the new security patches.

Then I noticed something else. Various icons on my desktop where jumping around, or sometimes vanishing completely when I clicked on them. I ran a virus check, and discovered the presence of some sort of hack tool in the NT systems folder.

There has been an increasing incidence of hack attacks on PCs in recent months, which has partly been caused by security vulnerabilities in some versions of Internet Explorer, which allow would be hackers relatively easy access to susceptible computers.

Possibly hackers had tried to access my PC while I was in the process of downloading the security updates. Talk about ironic.

To complicate matters, my anti-virus programme wasn’t able to remove the offending item. It turns out this particular hack tool is a rather tricky number, as it attaches itself to various computer ports and cannot be deleted easily because NT4 considers it a running or in use process.

It was enough to make me reconsider my PC situation though. My current “home” computer is now over six years old, and in more recent times has been developing an increasing number of small, though irritating, problems.

While it is nothing that a full system rebuild couldn’t resolve, I have decided that since I am doing more work from home now, it is well and truly time to upgrade my computer system.

I have a philosophy of running things into the ground before I replace them, and since I have had, up until now, access to more modern and powerful PCs at work, I had not been too worried about replacing my aging home computer.

All going well, I should be up and running using Windows XP, on a new super chunky PC by early next week. I am now waiting to see how XP compares to NT4, as XP is based on NT4. Obviously there will be a few degrees of difference in terms of technology advances between the two operating systems, but it is stability I am more interested in.

In the almost four years I was running NT4, the system only crashed two times. I consider that an exemplary track record, given the OS (Windows 95) I used prior to migrating to NT4 used to crash at least two times a day.

Originally published Monday 4 August 2003.